The wisdom of little detours
“Eventually you will see that the real cause of problems is not life itself. It's the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes the problems." ~Michael Singer
Just finished recording a Rebel Radio podcast with Cindy Van Arnam (it will be out soon) and according to my numerology chart I’m a planner.
No surprise here - that’s what I do. Set up models for existence. How things (life) should and should not turn out. Long “to do” lists to make sure things happen.
And when anything deviates from these plans I get upset. Knocked off course. Adrift.
The problem? The models.
We need to throw them out.
But me? I get stuck in the difference between what should be and is. I think it’s because I secretly relish it. I like to wallow. It feels like a friendly place.
I was in one of these funks at the end of a long day when a ping of a text interrupted. “Think I’m gonna check out fog over the sound. Want to go?”
Despite my internal Eeyore, I replied, “Yes.”
We parked in the shopping center between the empty Olive Oil store and the pond. My eyes drifted over to the faded blue rowboat on the far end. It’s always there – but I’ve never seen anyone use it.
Only three days ago the deck was occupied by families reveling in the relaxed freedom of the last precious days of vacation.
Now we’re alone.
The fog is dense, but we can make out a par 3 length of water. Clinking metal and a distant foghorn invoked scenes from murder mysteries where heroines discover bodies alongside dark wooden docks.
Suddenly from the right, a large bird with long legs and wings flew into view. It could easily have been an extra on Jurassic Park.
He landed in a marshy nook to the left. Then a second one settled about 200 yards from the first. We’ve seen herons in the sound before – but never two at once.
It felt like a gift.
In our hurried movements to capture the birds for Instagram, the second heron flew away in disgust. But the first remained. He flew to the dock and walked purposefully toward the middle. It was like he knew what we needed to get the pic we craved (above).
The next day I googled what herons symbolize - the end of one stage of life and the beginning of a new one. And those with a heron animal spirit exhibit balance and stability, self-reliance, tact, wisdom, and knowledge.
If I’d stubbornly continued to wallow – I would have missed the moment and the heron's message.
We need to stay open to the possibility of little detours. Opportunities to escape our plans – not by plane or train (because sometimes we don’t have the time or money) – but to a park, pond, or passel of planks by the sea.
A mindful moment away from the past and future.
A glimpse that maybe, just maybe, everything will be all right if we can stop and notice our place in the order of beings.